(This blog post was originally written by Joe Edsall in June 2018.)

I like words, they make me feel safe and in control at times. They can make me feel more important and superior when I’m feeling small. Problem is they are only words,  the feelings they create do not really make me safe, important, and definitely not superior. What they have done has lessened what has happened to me and put distance in my relationships with others.

Some examples:

  • Molester was “they were inappropriate”
  • Being called fatty as a kid was “it’s OK, it’s no big deal”
  • Pornography was “images”
  • A friend was “someone I know”

Transformation is a broad word compared to openness and joy. Naming things for what they are is a big deal. It  doesn’t always mean its truth with a capital T. It does give me options of how to process what has happened to me.

Molester and pornography have way different connotations then images and inappropriate and are handled differently Being called fatty was cruel and hurtful, it wasn’t ok, it doesn’t define me today. Someone I know can be a friend, that’s a really big deal.

It’s important for me to continue naming what’s true and what misnaming has cost me and others. Are there words you’ve used to lessen you pain or impact? What is the cost?